Lots of drama today. Fortunately, the drama all ended in celebration. (Even for the Minnesota Wild.)
The Twins got back to .500 this afternoon after beating the Rangers 7-2. Pedro Hernandez provided a very strong shutout effort (5 IP, 5 H, BB, 3 K). The bullpen continued to shine, preserving the shutout while the offense added a handful of insurance runs. Glen Perkins pitched a very low-leverage ninth. He walked the first two batters before getting the next two guys out. He then gave up a (misjudged by Hicks) double and two runs, before striking out the game's final batter.
Josh Willingham's 6th inning home run gave him his 25th Target Field Home Run, eclipsing Jim Thome's mark by one and setting a new Target Field record.
Let's take a look around the farm:
ROCHESTER RED WINGS 1, BUFFALO BISONS 0
The spotlight shone on Kyle Gibson today. Gibson, who recorded his first AAA victory since May 29, 2011, pitched 6.2 scoreless innings. He struck out seven. He walked two and allowed two hits.
Caleb Thielbar struck out three of the four batters he faced.
Tim Wood made yet another impressive rehab appearance. He retired all three batters he faced on 11 pitches, recording his first AAA save of the season. During the AAA-portion of his rehab, opposing hitters are 1-for-16 against Wood in the five innings he has pitched.
The offense only managed four hits: Evan Bigley and Joe Benson had consecutive singles in the 3rd inning, but were stranded. Bigley had a leadoff double in the 5th, moved on a sacrifice bunt and later scored on an Eric Farris sacrifice fly. Nate Hanson added a leadoff single in the 7th before being forced out at second to end the inning. Fortunately, that little bit of offense was enough to get the win.
The victory gives the Red Wings their first four-game winning streak since the four-game period from July 29 to August 5, 2012.
Liam Hendriks (0-1, 4.63) will be on the mound tomorrow afternoon at 1:05 ET looking to help the Red Wings win their second game in this four-game wraparound series.
At 9-14, the Red Wings have climbed out of the cellar. In addition to that, De Vries, Wood and Deduno (whether it's those three or someone else) will benefit the Red Wings as they return to health.
NEW BRITAIN ROCK CATS 4, RICHMOND FLYING SQUIRRELS 2
Despite being out-hit (13-9) and committing three errors, the Rock Cats escaped with a victory.
After a 2nd inning James Beresford double scored Danny Ortiz to give the Rock Cats a 1-0 lead, they added to that lead in the 3rd on a Josmil Pinto 3-run home run. Those four runs proved to be enough for victory.
B.J. Hermsen made his second start of the year. He lasted 4.2 innings, allowing nine hits and a run. He walked one and struck out two. Not his most effective outing, but he did throw 92 pitches, so that's a good sign.
Jose Gonzalez (who got the win) was able to get it to the 8th. Edgar Ibarra made a mess and Michael Tonkin cleaned it up for the save.
Pat Dean (0-2, 4.35) up next for the Rock Cats tomorrow at 1:35 ET.
FORT MYERS MIRACLE 2, CHARLOTTE STONE CRABS 1
Walk-offs are exciting when you're the winning team. A walk-off walk is less exciting, but, hey, it's still exciting.
Much like the Rock Cats, the Miracle managed minimal offense. Three hits to be exact. (Yeah, A.J.'s hit-streak is over.)
Drew Leachman singled in the 5th, but was caught stealing third to end the inning. Matt Koch singled to lead off the 8th, was replaced by Stephen Wickens as a pinch-runner and scored on Angel Morales' double. So there are your three hits.
But wait there's more... (the recap from milb.com)
Fort Myers Bottom of the 9th
- Pitching Change: Jacob Partridge replaces Lenny Linsky.
- Miguel Sano walks.
- Drew Leachman flies out to left fielder Jeff Malm.
- Kennys Vargas walks. Miguel Sano to 2nd.
- Kyle Knudson walks. Miguel Sano to 3rd. Kennys Vargas to 2nd.
- Andy Leer strikes out swinging.
- Angel Morales walks. Miguel Sano scores. Kennys Vargas to 3rd. Kyle Knudson to 2nd.
So there you have it. Literally, a walk-around-the-bases walkoff.
The pitchers got it done. Matt Summers went seven strong innings. He struck out three and gave up a run on five hits. No walks. Taylor Rogers gave up a hit in an inning pitched. Cole Johnson gets the win for his scoreless inning pitched.
The Miracle have now improved to 18-4. Tomorrow's scheduled starter, Taylor Rogers, pitched an inning tonight. I believe Tom Stuifbergen missed a start due to illness, so he may be the guy that takes the ball tomorrow at 1 ET.
CEDAR RAPIDS KERNELS 8, GREAT LAKES LOONS 7
Walk-offs are exciting when you're the winning team. The walk-off in this game is of the most-exciting variety.
Let's get you up to speed...
Mason Melotakis had a rough five innings. He allowed five hits and gave out four free passes. He struck out seven and left the game down 4-3.
Manuel Soliman went 2.1 innings, allowing three runs on two hits and a walk. He struck out four.
In the 8th inning, Tim Atherton comes in to a 7-4 game. He gets the Kernels out of the inning and also retires the side in the 9th.
Turning the page to offense...
Byron Buxton walked and scored on a Jorge Polanco double. In the 4th, Tyler Grimes doubled Adam Walked home (who had walked) and a Buxton sacrifice fly drove Grimes in.
In the 9th inning, down three, Niko Goodrum walked. DJ Hicks hit a groundball that the Loon shortstop booted. Up walks Adam Walker, the tying run, trying to extend his home-run-streak to four games. And he did. Walker now leads the MWL with six home runs and 25 RBI.
I wrote this about him in the Prospect Handbook:
Walker has more raw power than anyone in the system not named Sano. It's a legitimate 70 on the 20-80 scale.
He is proving it every night.
Atherton continued on the mound, finishing with five Ks in 3.1 inning. David Hurlbut got a flyball out to finish the top half of the 11th.
The excitement picked up in the bottom half. Goodrum led off the inning with a single. Polanco bunted him over before Hicks hit a single that advanced Goodrum to third. Adam Walker came up again, but was intentionally walked to load the bases.
Mauer decided to go to the bench and have Travis Harrison hit for Tyler Grimes. Hit he did. Harrison turned a pitch around and it cleared the fence. The Kernels win by WALK-OFF GRAND SLAM!
Well, after further review, the players went nuts and Hicks and Walker never advanced. Goodrum scored the winning run and, officially, Harrison gets an RBI single. Exciting, yes; but less exciting than a walk-off grand slam... or even a solo grand slam.
Here's a good write-up on Adam Walker after last night's game.
Josh Burris joined the Kernels. Chris Mazza headed back to EST. That opens up a spot on the roster.
Luke Bard tweeted about his flight, but the destination is unknown. Could he be flying into Cedar Rapids or the Cities?
Tyler Duffey (2-1, 2.29) will be on mound at 2:05 CT tomorrow